By NASW-CA President Shirley Gentilini, MSW, LCSW
This year has gone by quickly. Lobby Days in April; the June Leadership meeting in San Diego; and the October NASW Annual Conference and board meeting held in Oakland. All were very well-planned and organized events.
Those who attended the conference shared how much they gained from the classes. The conference gave them the opportunity to socialize with former colleagues and to meet others. I value meeting newer social workers and learning about their area of expertise and social work practice.
There are many very important issues presented to our professional organization, NASW. A very critical one is membership. After discussing membership with those who are already members, it became apparent that we join NASW for a variety of reasons. NASW, our professional organization, is vital to protecting our social work profession, social work values and social work ethics.
To recruit new members, regional board members sat a table in the exhibit hall and discussed the benefits of joining NASW. They made flyers with pictures of the regional directors and others in regional leadership. Their efforts were successful as future members signed up. I encourage you to share with your colleagues the benefits of becoming a member; help them to join NASW. If you have an idea of what works to recruit other social workers, you could email them to your regional leaders or to the NASW staff.
During our luncheon, we introduced and honored our Public Citizen of the Year, Lesford Duncan, who shared how he has worked as a community activist and organizer in the fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Duncan currently serves as the child abuse prevention coordinator for San Bernardino County Children’s Network.
The Social Worker of the Year award was presented to Lt. Col. Valvincent Reyes, LCSW, BCD, USA retired, for his work with veterans. He helped develop the military social work concentration at USC’s School of Social Work. He was also a senior social work officer in the US Army working to install the first-ever PTSD outpatient treatment program.
Again I would like to remind you that March is just around the corner and hopefully you will look at your constituents to see who may be eligible for the Social Work Award from your chapter.
After the conference in Oakland, the California Social Worker’s Hall of Distinction held a reception to recognize and honor six social workers for their outstanding work and contribution to our profession over the years. The six awardees can be found on the Hall of Distinction website at www.socialworkhallof distinction.org. Here you can read about the awardees and others from the past.
I wish you the best during this holiday season as you celebrate with family and friends and look forward to 2014.